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Business & Economy

MORPC and the Columbus Partnership support Amtrak's potential expansion in Columbus

An Amtrak train pulls out of Chicago's coach yard and maintenance facility.
Loco Steve
An Amtrak train pulls out of Chicago's coach yard and maintenance facility.

Support for Amtrak’s potential expansion into Columbus received a boost as the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and Columbus Partnership join the effort to bring passenger trains to the city.

The proposed Amtrak rail line would link Columbus to Cleveland as well as Cincinnati and Dayton. From Cleveland and Cincinnati rail passengers could travel to other major cities.

The federal government was allotted $66 billion from the federal infrastructure bill for Amtrak investments throughout the U.S.

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) executive director William Murdock said that Columbus is one of the largest regions in the country without access to a rail system.

The proposed route would connect Columbus to Cincinnati, Dayton and Cleveland with the potential of Pittsburgh and Chicago.
Amtrak and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Comission
An Amtrak train pulls out of Chicago's coach yard and maintenance facility.

“What we’re proposing is multiple trips a day from Columbus to Cleveland, Columbus to Dayton and Cincinnati," Murdock said. "And we're even investigating lines from Columbus to Pittsburgh and Columbus to Chicago."

The proposed route would provide daily access to passengers in Central Ohio. Murdock said it could also connect outlying towns like Delaware, Marysville and Springfield.

“It’s definitely as much a rural and small-town investment as it would be a big city investment,” he said. "There's an opportunity to restore Columbus and some of our surrounding towns to the nation's passenger rail network for the first time in a generation."

Amtrak operates throughout Ohio in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Sandusky, Elyria, Toledo, Bryan and Alliance.

Earlier this week, the Federal Railroad Administration issued rules and guidance on how these funds can be accessed. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine requested that the Ohio Rail Development Commission to engage with Amtrak to determine the best routes and what it will cost.

These options will be evaluated over the next few months.